LPWAN: The fastest growing IoT communication technology

Cellular MNOs are increasingly offering access to more than one LPWAN technology

LPWAN will be the fastest growing IoT connectivity technology over the next 5 years.
In recent years, Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional wireless technologies to provide power-efficient and cost-effective wide area connectivity for the IoT. As the number of connected IoT devices grows from 7B in 2018 to 22B in 2025, LPWANs are expected to be a key growth driver. In a recent market report including comprehensive analysis of LPWAN, IoT Analytics estimates that LPWAN will be the fastest growing IoT communication technology over the next 5 years, with the number of LPWAN connected devices growing 109% per year and forecast to exceed the 1 billion mark in 2023.

LPWAN market remains fragmented, but LoRa and NB-IoT are emerging as the two leading technologies.

Today the LPWAN market is still at an early phase and characterized by a high degree of technological fragmentation (IoT Analytics investigated 16 LPWAN technologies, and there are even more out there) and a network footprint that is far from being global. However, the analysis of the market suggests this is quickly consolidating around a few key technologies. According to the estimates, in 2017 LoRa was the overall market leader if both public and private network deployments are counted, while Sigfox was leading in terms of connections via public networks, with the vast majority concentrated within Europe. However, the situation is likely to change by the end of 2018, when the fast-growing NB-IoT technology is expected to surpass both LoRa and Sigfox in terms of connected devices – becoming the dominant LPWAN technology for the rest of the forecast period 2018-2023. LoRa on the other end will maintain its leadership for private network deployment. Counting both public and private networks, NB-IoT and LoRa already make up about 70% of the market today and are expected to grow their share of the market to almost 85% within the next 5 years.

Cellular MNOs are increasingly betting on multiple LPWAN technologies to address a wider range of use cases and application scenarios.

The market analysis also highlights a few emerging trends, one of the most interesting ones being the support of multiple LPWAN technologies by the same network operator within the same area. Technically, each LPWAN technology is characterized by a different set of features that makes each of them best suited to a different range of IoT use cases and application scenarios. Deploying IoT networks with different technologies that complement each other provides operators with the means to accommodate a wider range of customer requirements. While at the same time it allows them to differentiate their investment and reduce the risks of one of the deployed technologies not experiencing the device volumes that were initially anticipated.

Out of the 52 cellular MNOs who have already launched commercial LPWA networks, 10 have adopted this multi-technology strategy. According to GSMA, 8 cellular MNOs had already deployed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks over the same country by September 2018, the majority of which are in the Asia-Pacific region. More have announced plans to do so in 2019, e.g. AT&T and Verizon. At the same time, 2 more operators (KPN and SK Telekom) launched both a licensed and an unlicensed network in the same country, specifically LTE-M and LoRaWAN.

Furthermore, recent marketing messages from different suppliers of LoRaWAN products and/or services (e.g. Actility, Orange) suggest that LoRaWAN and licensed technologies are highly complementary and are thus being increasingly combined together in solution deployments.

Many industry experts had already pointed out in the past that a multi-technological strategy would be key for the success of the LPWAN market, as no single LPWAN technology can cover all potential use cases. It seems MNOs have now come to the same conclusion and are getting ready to support multiple LPWAN technologies.

The insights presented here were derived from the comprehensive 260 – page LPWAN Market Report 2018-2023. The report focuses on the technical features, ecosystem and SWOT analysis of 7 leading LPWAN technologies (plus 16 other relevant technologies), examines their suitability for 37 IoT uses cases, forecasts the market outlook to 2023 and includes much more.

RECENT ARTICLES

Aeris Intelligent IoT network provides System Loco with reliable connectivity for worldwide track and trace of sustainable IoT-enabled smart pallets

Posted on: July 5, 2022

Aeris, the global Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider, announced that System Loco, a global provider of supply chain and asset tracking solutions, has selected the Aeris Intelligent IoT Network to provide next generation connectivity to support and manage the worldwide track and trace of smart pallets employed by System Loco’s customers throughout the world.

Read more

Removing IT bottlenecks: The key’s simplicit

Posted on: July 5, 2022

A report by Mulesoft found that the IT teams of just 37% of organisations completed all of their assigned projects last year. Digitalisation can gather valuable data insights and optimise processes, but progress is often held back by the large IT workload such projects create. Here, Johan Jonzon, CMO and co-founder in edge analytics for

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox